Most of the saddles used today are holdovers from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. Four manufacturers
are desirable for a quality ride. These are Mayhew, Owen, Martin and Martin, and Champion and Wilton. New saddles are being produced but are quite pricey and are best left to the serious sidesaddle devotee.
Mayhew Sidesaddle and the stirrup fitting.
Owen Sidesaddle and fitting
Martin & Martin Sidesaddle
The spring flap allows foradjusting the stirrup from the off side
Champion & Wilton sidesaddles and fitting
Some other saddles of interest
Some safety features are considered a necessity:
- A safety stirrup … one that breaks away at the foot rest or one that the leather separates from the saddle in case of a fall.
- A safety apron … a skirt-like garment that has much less fabric than a regular skirt to get caught on the horns.
- Some riders like to carry a sidesaddle cane to cue the horse on the right. A dressage whip (longer than a hunt crop) can also be used.
- With the exception of roping events, sidesaddle riders enjoy nearly all types and styles of riding. There have been ladies riding aside in eventing, dressage, endurance, barrel racing, fox hunting, and most types of pleasure events at shows.
- Sidesaddles are beginning to be used in handicapped riding programs. As was the case after the wars, especially WWI, riders who for any reason cannot ride aside, can enjoy their horses sidesaddle.